Lasting Impressions

Cubs manager Dusty Baker is in the fourth and final year of his contract, and whether or not he survives with the Cubs beyond 2006, there is no denying that he left lasting first mpressions in his four Opening Days.

The first three years he was 3-0 on Opening Day, and the Cubs outscored their opponents 38-12.

The hits just kept on coming on Monday, as Chicago scored five runs in the first inning and rolled to a 16-7 victory over Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.

Second baseman Todd Walker was one of three Cubs with three hits in the 18-hit attack. He also drove in three runs.

But he had a warning for those who are too excited about the onslaught.

"Last year we won big (16-6) and lost the next two games to Arizona," he said. "So this year we have to keep the momentum going."

REPLAY: Todd Walker won the starting second baseman's job and celebrated with three hits -- including two doubles -- and three RBIs in the Cubs' 16-7 victory over Cincinnati in the season opener.

Walker won the job over Jerry Hairston and Neifi Perez, and even though the other two are considered better defensive players, his presence in the No. 2 hole should make for a smooth transition between leadoff hitter Juan Pierre and the heart of the order featuring Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

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